North Texas “Bans Our Bodies” Demonstrations Defend Abortion Rights – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

North Texas cities joined other cities across the country on Saturday to demonstrate in support of abortion rights.

Several hundred gathered outside Dallas City Hall on Saturday in the “Bans Off Our Bodies” coordinated effort, which was organized by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Women’s March and other groups. Dr. Joseph Valenti, a Denton-based gynecologist, said several patients are concerned about the leaked US Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting a possible overturn of Roe v. Wade.

“My patients come to me and say, ‘What do I do if…? What if my baby has a fatal abnormality? Will I be forced to have a baby that will not live outside the womb? Am I going to have to risk pregnancy?’” Dr. Valenti said. “This is something that we never thought, as doctors, would happen. Where we would be forced to try to do something to care for our patients that somebody made illegal.”

The Dallas Morning News reports that Fort Worth, Frisco and Rockwall were among the other North Texas cities with rallies planned for Saturday.

Michelle Anderson spoke to the crowd in Dallas on Saturday on behalf of the Afiya Center (TAC). TAC’s website describes the center as a reproductive justice organization established in response to “growing disparities in HIV incidence worldwide and the extraordinary prevalence of HIV among Black women and girls in Texas.” Anderson said she worries that eliminating access to abortion means creating generational poverty.

“It’s going to create economic oppression because if they force us to have children, especially our little girls who don’t have access to maybe even get a job and we’re assuming they can take care of their children, the burden then shifts to the family.” Anderson said.

This week, the Democrat-led women’s health protection bill stalled as expected after failing to reach the US Senate’s 60-vote threshold. The bill was intended to protect the right to abortion across the country and would have superseded state laws like Texas’ six-week abortion ban.

All Democrats voted for the legislation with the exception of Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and all Republicans opposed the bill, which failed 49-51.

Kimberlyn Schwartz of Texas Right to Life, the state’s oldest and largest pro-life organization, said the past two weeks have been full of “ups and downs” for the pro-life movement.

“Ultimately, the abortion battle is a spiritual battle. So we see a lot of attacks on pregnancy centers, on churches in our communities, and how heartbreaking that is. How that takes its toll,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz noted that he felt more like it was “an encouraging time” for the pro-life movement and that more conversations are needed between those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice.

“Generally, people arrive at your job in a spirit of goodwill. Is it just a difference of weighing what are the competing interests of the common good? she said. “We also share a common interest. We also care about the life of the mother, her health and well-being. That’s why we’ve done a lot as a pro-life movement to serve women who are unexpectedly pregnant.”

The leaked draft opinion stems from the ongoing case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenging Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks. Legal experts expect a ruling to be published in June or July.

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